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Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Eating Mindfully: One Bite at a Time

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

What does eating mindfully mean? Eating mindfully encourages you to be aware of your meal, surroundings (including any distractions), appetite, pace, and emotions at meal and snack time. All of these components help shape us to be more mindful at each meal and snack. Eating mindfully not only helps us meet our nutrition goals, but it provides surprising benefits, such as promoting meal enjoyment and gratification. Today we’re going to focus on the pace of our meals and how being mindful of our pace can help us to meet our nutrition goals.

In a world of convenience and fast-paced schedules, our meals tend to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. Convenience, take-out, increased commutes, and busy schedules have all led us to speed up our meal and snack times. Many people find themselves eating on the go more than ever before. We may eat in the car, while running in-between errands, during a family member’s sports event, or throughout the workday. Unfortunately, getting more time to spend at meals isn’t always the easiest, but understanding the importance of being mindful wherever your mealtime occurs, may encourage you to make mindfulness your priority.

No matter where your meal or snack takes you, whether it’s on the go or sitting down at the family dinner table, time plays an important role. Firstly, our appetite and hormones depend on the duration of our meal. It takes time for our digestive system to send fullness signals to our brain, telling us that we’re no longer hungry. If we eat our meal very quickly, that fullness cue may not be received yet. If our brain still thinks we’re hungry and we don’t feel full, then we may venture for additional servings of our meal before those hormone signals get to their final destination. However, if we take our time at our meals and allow our hunger/fullness signals to work, then we can accurately assess if our body needs to be nourished with additional servings. If we take 20-30 minutes to complete a meal and we are still feeling hungry afterward, then we know our bodies our telling us that we need more nourishment.

By slowing down our eating pace at meals, we’re able to savor our meals and really enjoy the hard work and money spent on the meal. Take note of the flavors, aromas, colors, temperatures, and textures. Do these characteristics change from the beginning to the end of the meal? Can you brainstorm how you will prepare the meal differently next time? Can you substitute simple swaps to nourish your body differently the next time you prepare this meal? For meals eaten out, can you prepare the meal similarly at home? Can you request substitutes for simple swaps to nourish your body differently the next time you order the meal? Slowing down the pace of our meal helps us be more aware of the meal we are eating. It gives us a moment to sit, eat, and reflect. Time is so valuable to capture these nourishing details.

Now that we know some reasons as to why we want to slow down our meals, let’s discuss some tips about how we can slow down our meal pace. One approach is to put your fork or spoon down in-between bites. If your meal has finger foods, you may choose to place your hands in your lap in-between bites. This habit may take practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be enjoying your meal one bite at a time.

You may also find it helpful to avoid cutting up your meal at the beginning. Instead, choose to slice or cut each bite individually as you eat your meal. This will help to slow down the meal time and allow you to be mindful of your pace.

Another tip you may find useful is to use your non-dominant hand when eating. Often times, we may rush through our meals using our dominant hand without taking a break. Sometimes we have our next bite loaded on our fork before we’re mid-way through chewing our current bite. Due to lack of coordination, our non-dominant hand often slows down the pace of our meal naturally.

As we know, we can’t always control where we eat, including our busy schedules. But, if you find yourself eating on the run or in a short period of time, try to maximize that time and lengthen your eating pace within the time you have. For example, if you only have a 30-minute lunch break and you typically finish your meal in the first 10 minutes, work to pace and lengthen your meal to take the full 25-30 minutes you have. If you find yourself eating in the car in-between errands, the tips above can help to lengthen your meal.

Enjoy your food and any company that may be joining you in-between bites. If you’re alone, savor the meal and note the characteristics we discussed earlier. Engage in conversation or think about your meal. Your new pace will allow you to reflect on your appetite, emotions, and overall feelings about the meal.

Every person has their own individual nutrition goals. The few tips reviewed here are just a short list of the full toolbox that you and your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can use to help focus on meal and snack time pace. Not all tips work for every individual, so working closely with your consultant will bring you the most individualized success to meet your goals and improve your mindfulness at meals. Touch base with the your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to review your current mindfulness and brainstorm additional tips of how to improve mealtime mindfulness overall.

Weekly Nourishments

Eating Mindfully: The Role of Appetite and Emotions

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

As we continue our mindful meal series, let’s look at two more aspects that contribute to eating mindfully: our appetite and emotions. First, let’s review mindful eating.

What does eating mindfully mean? Eating mindfully encourages you to be aware of your meal, surroundings (including any distractions), appetite, pace, and emotions. All of these components help to shape us to be more mindful at each meal and snack. Eating mindfully not only helps us meet our nutrition and wellness goals, but it provides additional benefits, such as promoting meal enjoyment and gratification.

In order to implement mindfulness when we eat, it’s important to take a look at our appetite and emotions. Our appetite is a wonderful feedback cue that tells our bodies when to eat and how much to eat. Our hunger is driven by many variables, the first being hormones. We have hormones that drive both our hunger and fullness cues. They tell us when we’re hungry and help to show our bodies just how hungry we are. Other variables that play a role in our hunger are the sight and smell of food. Did you know that just seeing and smelling food can trigger our bodies to begin secreting digestive enzymes? The human body is so smart! Another aspect that drives our hunger is our bowel regularity. If we’re constipated or backed up, then our digestion can be delayed, which can impact our hunger.

The other aspect of eating mindfully, emotions, plays a significant role at meal and snack time. Our emotions, no matter what they may be, can have a profound impact on our appetite and our meal consumption. These emotions range from boredom and happiness to sadness and stress. Most of us can relate to these emotions and the impact they have on our appetite, food choices, and portions sizes. Acknowledging our emotions is an important step when evaluating our meal mindfulness.

Since appetite and emotions can sometimes be impacted by each other, it’s important to evaluate both of these components together.  When working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian and coach, you may be encouraged to review a mental hunger scale before eating. It’s a nice way to evaluate just how hungry we are and if our hunger is true hunger vs. emotional hunger. 

Since emotions play such a significant role in our meal intake, it’s equally important to pause and evaluate our emotions before eating. Checking in with ourselves and asking, “How am I feeling right now?” can help bring awareness to our emotions. It’s important to notice when we’re stressed, angry, tired, or ecstatic. Our culture has driven food intake to be associated with not only holidays and events, but emotions as well. Think about the classic picture that our culture has engrained in our minds:  someone feeling down or upset headed to the freezer for a pint of ice cream. Pausing and thinking about our current emotional state can help set the pace of meal and snack decisions. Instead of being on autopilot, a brief evaluation can give us a quick emotional check-in. Perhaps we’re not truly hungry, perhaps we’re just eating because we’re nervous and around new people in an unfamiliar situation, or maybe we’re emotional and restricting foods that we know would nourish our body.

Remembering to check in with your emotions is a habit that can take time to master. Many people find visual cues beneficial as a reminder to check in with their appetite and emotions before eating. Setting phone reminders or using sticky notes are some useful methods to use. Everyone is different in how they process appetite signals and emotions, so it’s important to work individually with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to evaluate your nutritional goals and implement the best practices for you.

As you know, meal mindfulness includes paying attention to meal pace and being aware of meal distraction. Now we can add paying attention to our appetite and emotions to the mindfulness characteristics. Learning to eat mindfully certainly takes practice to implement over time, but incorporating each aspect one-by-one will help you to be more mindful with each meal and snack. 

Touch base with you Nuleeu Registered Dietitian or coach to discuss how appetite and emotions may be playing a role in your nutrition and wellness goals. It’s important that you have have an individualized plan to help improve your mindfulness at meals. Not all tips work for every individual, so working closely with your consultant will bring you the most individualized success to meet your goals and improve your mindfulness at meals. Touch base with the your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to review your current mindfulness and brainstorm additional tips of how to improve mealtime mindfulness overall.


Remember we are a diet-free, all foods company, supporting clients to learn balanced lifestyle living without guilt, shame or restrictions!

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Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Eating Mindfully: The Power of a Distraction-Free Meal

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

As we’ve reviewed previously, eating mindfully encourages you to be aware of your meal, surroundings (including any distractions), appetite, pace, and emotions at meal and snack time. All of these components help shape us to be more mindful at each meal and snack. Eating mindfully not only helps us meet our nutrition goals, but it provides surprising benefits, such as promoting meal enjoyment and gratification. In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of meal pace and slowing down our meal and snack times. As we venture on our journey to learn more about mindfulness at meals, let’s review the importance of distraction at mealtime.

Distraction is a valuable component that we can try to reduce when eating meals and snacks. When we are distracted, we are removed from being in the moment. When it comes to meals and snacks, this means that being distracted reduces our attention span. We pay less attention to the foods’ flavors, the pace of our meal, our hunger/fullness cues, as well as the hard work put in to prepare the meal. If we pay less attention to our pace and hunger/fullness cues, then we are likely to consume more than our body requires. On the other hand, if we are distracted and aren’t mindful of our portion sizes, then we may also not nourish our bodies enough. Distraction can also draw us away from paying attention to the meal or snack details. The flavors of our foods are so rich and varied. Paying attention to these flavors and enjoying them plays a significant role in our ability to nourish our bodies and feel satisfied. Taking note of the hard work you or someone else put in to prepare the meal or snack creates appreciation for the meal, which helps to add satisfaction to the meal or snack.

Reducing distraction at meals takes some self-awareness. Reducing distraction is possible no matter where you are when you eat your meal or snack. If you typically eat meals at home at the dinner table, take note if the television is on or if your phone is nearby. Evaluate who you eat with as well and if they bring distractive items to the table. Eating with others is less of a distraction and more of an asset to your meal if all members are engaged in the meal and with each other. If you are on the run and find yourself eating in the car, can you wait to eat your meal when you park or when you arrive to your destination? Driving while eating is very distracting and can also be unsafe. If you typically eat at your desk at work, see if you can take a moment to pause and eat, instead of working while eating.

Most of these behaviors have become habit for many of us, so making a change may take time. Start small with these behavior change goals and work to achieve a new habit over time. For example, if you typically eat with the television on each night at dinner, aim to reduce screen time by 1 night every week. If you typically eat while driving, see if you can plan to eat either before or after driving once each week. For those people who eat while they work at their desk, choose one day each week to take pause and eat lunch away from the computer or workload. Even if this means eating half your meal away from your workload at first, know that you’re making progress!

For some people, removing these distractions feels like an uncomfortable change. You can easily substitute non-distracting behaviors in place of distraction to help you stay mindful at meals. For example, if you typically eat meals in front of the television, see if you can replace the television with some of your favorite music. If you are eating with friends or family, engage in conversation. Encourage children at the table to talk about the meal and all of the ingredients it takes to make something so delicious. Take the time to talk about your day or things that are on your mind with your family or friends. If you’ve chosen to limit eating while working but feel tempted to just pick up your phone instead, see if you can try just a few minutes at a time sitting and eating without any screens or work. Take note of the foods you’re consuming. If you eat near a window or outside, take in the view if possible. If you’re not near a view and are sitting at your desk with the computer and phone off and your workload put aside, take note of the flavors in your meal as you enjoy your food bite by bite.

It may feel a bit out of sorts at first but taking the time to mindfully eat with less distraction is a powerful tool to keep you on your nutrition and wellness journey. Touch base with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to review how you can individually reduce distraction at meals. These recommendations will be tailored just for you to help you meet your individual goals and stay on track because we all have our own specific goals.


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Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Creating a Lifestyle Change

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

Now more than ever, we are focusing on our health and wellness. We are recognizing the importance of our overall wellbeing and the significant impact it can have to support our lifelong goals and long-term health. Investing in your health now may not only save you time, money, and complications down the road, but it can give you years back in your life, filled with rich wellbeing, so that you can be your best self for the rest of your life. When you work with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer, or Yoga Coach, you know that you are investing in your health with the guide of trained and certified professionals with years of experience, ready to provide you with evidence-based recommendations. When you invest in your health with Nuleeu, you make the decision to create a lifestyle change.

Now, you’re asking, “what’s the difference between a lifestyle change and a diet or a fitness program?” The answer is everything. A lifestyle change doesn’t have bookends. There’s no start and stop like many diets or regimens function. There’s no yo-yo dieting, circling through nutrition trends, or feeling deprived for temporary periods of time, just to look forward to enjoying the real foods you like when the plan finishes. A lifestyle change doesn’t include unrealistic fitness routines and demanding requirements. This type of transformation is all about changing your life so that you can eat, play, and live doing the things that feel fun instead of like work and eating the foods you love.

At Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness, your lifestyle change starts the day that you decide to put your health and wellness first. A lifestyle change will change your life forever and for the better. An individualized lifestyle change is exactly what we all need so that the changes we make support our lifestyle and meet our own specific goals. There’s no one-size-fits-all lifestyle change. Your life is so unique to you and the changes that need to occur have to be just as unique and specialized!

The best thing about a lifestyle change is that it’s manageable and sustainable. Lifestyle changes take time as they need to fit into your life to be practical. They take time because they rely on building habits. Habit building is a journey in itself, since research shows that it takes approximately 66 days to start a new habit and stick with it. Developing and creating these habits are just what we all need in order to implement a lifestyle change tailored just for ourselves. We have likely all been there before. Starting a new routine or plan and feeling excited and enthusiastic in the beginning. But because the plan isn’t realistic and manageable, the newness ends up fading and we fall “off track”. In order for your health and wellness goals to be met for the rest of your life, we all have to stay on track- and that track is just living your life.

No one wants to feel like they’re “on a diet”, “on a meal plan,” or “on a fitness regimen.” We all just want to live and be our best selves every day. Nourish and support your body so that it has the fuel and energy to do all the things you love to do. A Nuleeu lifestyle change will ensure your body has everything it needs to run errands, be a coach for your kids, enjoy vacations, manage stress, and spend time with grandchildren, just to name a few of the millions of activities we want your body to be nourished for. A Nuleeu lifestyle change also ensures that your body safely engages in these activities as you incorporate safe, effective, and practical fitness into your life.

Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness has a number of individualized lifestyle change options. Whether you work one-on-one with a Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer, or Yoga Coach, or you dive into our tailored, affordable, state-of-the-art Nuleeu Connect Memberships, prepare to experience a lifestyle change that will support you for years and years to come. There’s no better time to choose to put your health and wellness first. If you’re waiting for the perfect moment to start a lifestyle change, know that today is the moment to make your lifestyle change perfect.

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Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Our Non-Diet Approach

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

How many of us have ever been on a diet? How many people do you know who have ever been on a diet? Do you see how many hands are raised? If I had to guess, I would say everyone has their hands up. We can likely all say that we have either been on a diet ourselves or know someone who has. Diets are so common in our culture. In fact, they’re almost synonymous with holidays! Think about New Year’s Day. It seems like the entire country starts on a new diet on January 1. Since diets run so common around us, they must be successful, right? There certainly must be a best diet out there that always ensures success. Now the real question is: how many of us have been on a diet or know of someone who has, and experienced long-term, forever success while enjoying their food, meeting their wellness goals, and living their best, sustainable life?

Unfortunately, not many of us (if any) have our hands raised now.

This is the reason why your professionals at Nuleeu encourage a no-diet approach. This is because diets don’t work. We love food and we follow the idea that all foods fit.

Of course we all want results, something guaranteed, and perhaps something with quick outcomes. Knowing that your health takes patience and invested time, diets don’t work because they’re like bookends. They have a clear start and a clear end. After we stop, we usually see our results fade and our previous state come right back to where it started. This can be anything! Whether it’s your blood sugar uncontrolled again, poor sleep, reduced strength, or added weight gain, when we’re “off the diet,” we’re back to reality. And the reality is that diets are unsustainable, difficult to follow, and frankly, unenjoyable. They’re also lonely! When we’re on a diet, we’re usually starting off that “I’m on a diet” sentence with, “No, thank you…I’m on a diet” or “I can’t because….I’m on a diet.” Restrictive, unsustainable diets create walls around us. Many clients describe feeling excluded at holidays and parties when they’ve been on a diet in the past. If you our someone you know has been on a diet, it’s common to feel excluded or separated from friends and family as they eat out at restaurants or share in the experience of eating potluck-style at parties and holidays. 

Diets always bring the hype in the beginning. They’re something new and exciting to follow, so they bring hope. No matter your nutrition goals, diets are exactly as their name implies. They’re something temporary. Since we say we’re “on a diet,” this implies that we’re on something and will later be off of it. In fact, it’d be great if we could call them “short-term food changes,” “unenjoyable restrictions,” or even “expensive ways to see results for a short period of time.” 

The cost of a diet adds up in the end because we’re left investing in something that didn’t last. Some diets make us jump through hoops, sometimes restricting foods we love, counting and calculating numbers throughout the day, or paying for bland meals, shakes, and snacks, just to name a few. Diet trends have been endless. But these diet components can lead us nowhere. If we restrict food, we may end up craving those foods even more later. If we spend our days counting and calculating, we lose our valuable time without gaining insight into the core of the nutrition information. If we only receive pre-prepared meals, snacks, or shakes without education, then when the deliveries stop, we’re left confused and uninformed about how to carry on.

Ideally, instead of saying, “I’m on a diet,” we at Nuleeu want to change that to, “I made a lifestyle change and this is how I eat and live now. And I love it!” Our non-diet approach is individualized and tailored to you, because we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all recommendations. We’re all different and we all require different needs, modifications, and recommendations. What works for one person, may not work for another. What works for one person in the beginning, may not work for them in the long-run, so we work together to find the most successful, sustainable nutrition changes for you to change your life.

One of the best parts of making such a nutrition lifestyle change, is that you get to share this information with your friends, family, and loved ones. Healthy habits are contagious and motivating! So instead of feeling excluded at a cookout or holiday gathering, you’ll have a healthful mindset that includes balance and inclusivity. 

We want to share our evidence-based recommendations with you, so that when we’re done working together, you continue to meet your wellness goals without the need of your Nuleeu coach. The great thing about a non-diet approach, is that it’s easy to follow forever. This way, you can enjoy living your life independently and sustainably, while successfully maintaining your wellness goals for years and years to come. Contact your Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness Registered Dietitian or professional coach to discuss the best program options for you to meet your specific needs and start your path of lifelong success.


Ready for a diet-free holiday?

Join us for our Diet-Free Holiday Celebrations!

We are hosting several workshops through the holidays to support lifestyle living without dieting. We focus on lifestyle changes not fad diets or extremes to support long term wellness.

Grab a spot in a free workshop! All Workshops 
Workshops are Sundays from 1-3pm
A deep Relaxation experience, join us for a yoga flow that supports deep relaxation and recovery and experience a Sound Bath with Eileen that uses sounds and vibrations to support total relaxation!
Ready to have fun with fitness? Join us as we explore new and fun ways to move your body without the shame, guilt or stress!
we all know sleep is key to wellness. Join us as we explore movement and meditation that can support improved sleep!
All workshops are 90 minutes to 2 hours in length. Workshops are for a smaller group of participants but allow for deeper learning. Participants will leave with a plan to maintain the information in their daily routine. Workshops come with workbook, additional materials and more!
Nutrition Weekly Nourishments

Consistency, Reminders, Intention

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

Making any behavior change requires intention and consistency to achieve our goals. Any new change that you set to accomplish in your life will require a new habit to be formed. Of course, we want to achieve our goals as quickly as possible, but we also want them to be safe, long-lasting, and achieve the outcomes we intend. When looking to make changes in your nutrition, fitness, or wellness lifestyle, starting with a habit is key.

Research shows that it takes approximately 66 days to start a new habit and stick with it. This is quite a bit of time to allow ourselves some grace as we may forget our new habit until it becomes routine. Knowing up front that it will take some time to create a habit, helps to set the ground for realistic expectations. For example, say your new goal is to incorporate at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable at every meal. Evaluating where we are starting at, we notice that we currently only eat 1 fruit at lunch and 1 vegetable at dinner. We have room to make improvements with our nutrition and we find ourselves eager to get working towards this goal. First, you may plan out your meals and choose fruits and vegetables ahead of time that you intend to incorporate in your meals. Having a plan is a great way to follow a path to your goal. Of course, life doesn’t always go as planned, so having back-up options available is a great idea. You may keep a banana, orange, or raisins at your desk at work to have as back-up in the event the cafeteria doesn’t offer a fruit or vegetable option that you like one day. You may keep a bag of pre-washed, ready-to-use spinach in the refrigerator to quickly add to sandwiches or prepare a side salad for quick, last-minute weeknight meals. For those times when you are attending a birthday party or cookout, you may plan to have your fruit or vegetable as a snack after the get-together in the event that fruits and vegetables are not offered. Due to the time commitment involved with forming a habit, give yourself flexibility with establishing your routine.

Once you have intention set, it’s important to have cues and reminders set to keep us on track. Reminders help to cue us on the behavior change we’d like to see. Let’s take our fruit and vegetable example again. If at every dinner, you serve your protein and grain on the right side of the plate (instead of the center), then there will be an open area to be filled on the left side of the plate, perhaps reminding you to fill that plate with at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable. Some people benefit from visual cues upon an action. For example, if you pack your lunch daily for work or school, you may put a sticky note near where you store your lunch bag. Every time you go to get your lunch bag to pack, you’ll see the sticky note reminding you to double check your lunch and if it includes at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable. If you typically make oatmeal for breakfast, you may put a sticky note on the oatmeal box or microwave to include a fruit or vegetable. Other people prefer to stay digital, so setting reminders on your phone at the time you go to lunch every day, or the time you typically eat or prepare dinner is another great reminder method! Another option is to include others. Tell your spouse, roommate, or colleague about your goal, and recruit them to help keep you on track. Consider your route. Review the route that you take and evaluate if another route would help you meet your goals. If you typically drive home and stop at a particular fast food location that offers limited fruit and vegetable options, consider driving another route home to break the habit. Think of other restaurant options that may better help you meet your goals, or skip the fast food altogether and plan to prepare your meal at home. If you’re headed to the workplace cafeteria, see if you can walk first by the fruit and vegetable station instead of the vending machine to remind you of your goal. Be forgiving of yourself if you forget to meet your habit even after seeing the reminder. Feel free to make adjustments to your reminder locations, times, and methods.

Keep your intention at the forefront of your mind. When we stay invested in our goals, we’re more likely to follow our cues and reminders to form the habits we need in order to achieve our goals. Review why you set your goal to begin with. Reflect on the accomplishments you’ve achieved along the way. Some people prefer to see it visually, so feel free to create a calendar or schedule that marks your achievements. Create a calendar with breakfast, lunch, and dinner written on every day. Every time you include 1 fruit and 1 vegetable at a meal, give yourself a checkmark or a sticker!
In the end, you’ll have compiled a number of achievements that you can reflect on. These achievements will help you stay motivated along the way.



Lally P, van Jaarsveld CHM, Potts HWW, Wardle J. How are habits formed: modelling habit formation in the real world. Euro J Soc Psychol. 2010;40:998–1009.

Weekly Nourishments

Fad Diet Trends

Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

When you hear the term ‘fad diets,’ which diet trends come to mind? You may picture low carb, high protein, high fat, low fat, and sugar-free, or you may picture a diet of shakes as meal replacements or eating single food groups only. No matter the case, fad diets have been around for many years and there seems to be no end in sight. The key aspect about fad diets that keeps them around is their shiny, new promise for change and quick results. Depending on lifestyle factors, genetics, and medical conditions, it may be unsafe for many people to follow a fad diet. We will review what makes fad diets so attractive, what leads to their ultimate disappointment, and which evidence-based methods are the most successful approach to meet your nutrition goals.

Fad diets usually involve changing the diet’s macronutrient supply in some way. Macronutrients are the group of nutrients that provide us with energy throughout our day. The three macronutrients in our diet include carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These three nutrient categories are essential in our diet to provide us with balanced nutrition and energy. Each fad diet redistributes the amount of macronutrients in some way. For example, the Atkins and ketogenic diets promote low carbohydrate, moderate or low protein, and high fat intake. Low fat diets limit fat and promote higher intakes of carbohydrate and protein. Diets with shake replacements may either have varying percentages of macronutrients or may restrict macronutrients altogether, therefore reducing calorie intake altogether. Every fad diet claims to be superior than another, but ultimately, they all operate using the same macronutrients, just in various amounts.

What makes fad diets so attractive and popular? It’s no surprise that fad diets are a multibillion-dollar industry. Fad diets offer eye-catching, but sometimes false claims that promise quick success. Fad diets not only promote weight loss, but they may also promise other outcomes such as better blood sugar control, improved cholesterol levels, and increased energy. This is an attractive choice for someone who may continue to struggle to meet their nutrition goals over and over. With the right marketing and strategies, businesses can shape a fad diet to seem like the best choice for you. Unfortunately, fad diets are often unregulated and unsafe for many people. Without the individual approach of a nutrition intervention, we all risk following a fad diet that may put our health at risk. The other attractive component to fad diets is the quick results sometimes seen up front. For example, many fad diets demonstrate quick weight loss upon starting. With that quick feeling of success, we may feel positive to continue the diet. Unfortunately, in most cases, this upfront weight loss is not fat loss, but instead water loss. This gives us a false sense of success in the beginning and may later be frustrating when we struggle to see any change in our weight down the road.

What makes fad diets fail? Many of us have either tried ourselves or know of someone who has tried a fad diet and then later stopped. Fad diets unfortunately don’t work because they offer short-term outcomes with minimal long-term success. Many fad diets are unsustainable long-term for a few reasons. First, many fad diets are unable to fit into our daily lifestyle for the long haul. For example, a parent with a large family may find themselves cooking multiple meals to meet their fad diet restrictions, but also preparing other meals for the rest of the family who does not follow the diet. Second, fad diets are difficult to implement in different settings, such as at restaurants, cookouts, holidays, and parties. Fad diets sometimes create a sense of guilt or exclusion in these social situations. Another example of unsustainability may be the cost. For the short-term, the financial aspect of a fad diet may seem justifiable but being able to afford shakes for every meal for months on end may put a strain on your grocery budget. Other diets require very specialized products, which come with a hefty price tag as well. Keep in mind that fad diets may help you meet your nutrition goal at first, but once the fad diet ends, the success reverses. For example, many people who follow a fad diet for weight loss later see all the weight gain come back after stopping the diet. This is not only disappointing, but it starts the cycle of dieting from one fad diet to the next and can have a significant impact on your nutrition and metabolism.

What does promote the best, evidence-based outcomes? Working with a dietitian is one of the best ways to know that you are receiving safe, accurate, evidence-based nutrition recommendations tailored specifically to you. It is imperative that your nutrition supports your lifestyle. A dietitian works with you to support your nutrition and wellness goals without a “start and stop” focus in mind, but instead, as sustainable recommendations to incorporate into your individual lifestyle long-term. At Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness, we want you to learn the nutrition knowledge you need to live your best, nourished life. Nutrition interventions take work, but your health is deserving of it and the work put in can be sustainable and integrated into every aspect of your life. No more cooking multiple meals, feeling excluded at parties, or jumping from fad diet to fad diet. We want your meals to be absolutely delicious and satisfying. We want you to feel fulfilled and engaged at mealtime as you spend it with family and friends, instead of feeling distracted that you have to plan around fad diet restrictions, asking for special requests at restaurants, or feeling as though you can’t join in the cookout festivities like you hoped. The nutrition changes you make with your registered dietitian will support your goals and will be changes you keep for the rest of your life because they are successful, achievable, realistic, and nourishing!

Keep in mind that if fad diets worked, there wouldn’t be so many on the market and we wouldn’t have such a nutrition epidemic battling chronic disease. If fad diets worked, we would all be on the same fad diet together! This isn’t the case. We want you to be successful and stay successful with meeting your nutrition goals. Contact your registered dietitian at Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness to meet your individual nutrition goals with the peace of mind that you will be receiving safe, tailored, evidence-based nutrition guidance to keep you on track!